Edited 15th May. Added some links to places and information.
I walk. It’s 7 Kilometres, my walk to the shop. But it’s a nice journey. No traffic, just the trees, sounds of birdsong, a few creeks and some beautiful scenery. I usually focus on the destination and enter into a meditative state when I walk the road, promising myself when I get back home after the trip that next time I’ll slow down and take some photos. Last week I did just that. So come with me on my stroll to Ayton, the village down the road.
The photos looking toward home were taken on the way back, but I’m putting them in order of distance from home.
This is a view back toward home. There is only one property past us, about a Kilometre up the valley.
Looking back again, about half a kilometre from home. The mountains are washed out by the afternoon sun. The road swing around to the left, past the last of the neighbours that you can see from the road. They’ve been there for 20+ years and are well set up.
The Wattle are in flower now. The perfume is sweet, honey scented.
This is looking back again, roughly a kilometre from home
This is a panorama, so click on it for a bigger view. This is also looking back toward home. The last photo was taken just near that driveway in the right background. This is one of our neighbour’s blocks. The cleared, grassed paddock you can see behind the palms is part of a 5 hole golf course. The home here is Octagonal and huge. They have about 70 acres that runs back up onto the ridge in the background.
OK, I’ll turn around now so that none of us get confused. This winding part of the road leads to a small creek that flows for most of the year. It generally dries just before the start of the Wet Season.
After the windy bit, the road takes a sharp right and goes through the creek and up a long straight, leading to a fairly steep hill and dip.
At the top of the hill, this is the view to the North. The last photo was taken at the other end of this pic. Over the mountains in the background is Cedar Bay, a place of great beauty and isolation with access by foot or boat only.
Heading towards the village again, this dip is a bit of a shocker in the wet. I think I’ve posted a photo before when it was a slush pit. Friends live up the ridge to the right of that next rise.
This is the friend’s driveway. It’s really steep and gets full of washouts every Wet season.
We’re now halfway down my road. 2km from the main road. How do I know (besides using my GPS)? Because we have this tricky addressing system for properties in rural Queensland. This sign is not only the street/road number, but it is also a kilometre marker. This place is 2 Kilometres (OK 2.01km) from the start of the road where it meets the highway/main road.
Once you go over the hill, it drops steeply to a small creek and a thicket of rainforest. Much of the lower country around this area was cleared in the late 1800’s for sugar cane and cattle production. The sugar cane failed in about 1886, and the cattle runs became smaller over the years. Regrowth is abundant and thick on the flats, but will doubtfully return to it’s former rainforest environment. The creeks are still good though. They weren’t cleared.
This badly stitched pano is looking back toward the creek and the hill where my friends live.
Once down this hill, it is generally a flat run all the way to Ayton. There are a couple of roads to the right before the main road. Friends also live up Freeman’s Rd, one of which has a view that is absolutely stunning. They can see from the North end of Weary Bay and the Gap mountains, right around to nearly the Southern end of Weary bay.
Eventually we hit the main road. I’ve captioned all these photos to make it easier (for me he he). The last photo was taken when I got home from the shop. It is looking up our driveway. The house is just hidden to the right of the drive in the background.
Nearly all of the properties around here have a buffer of forest between them and the road. People who are just passing through have no idea how many places are along this road. It’s quite surprising. A hundred odd people live in the Bloomfield/Ayton area, but very few houses are visible.
There is plenty of quality, inexpensive accommodation in Ayton. Bloomfield Escape and Hayley’s have comfortable cabins, and camping is available for as little as $10 a night (unpowered).
Bloomfield Escape is right on the corner of Weary Bay Road. You can walk to the beach in around 5 minutes from there. You can also rent a holiday house (there is only one there) at the end of Weary bay Road, right across from the beach.
Bloomfield Escape is only about 2 years old. Hayley’s seems to have been here forever.
The avenue of palms was once a driveway. They decided to close it off and have a parking space, which is a much better idea. I stayed here for some weeks when I was relief bus driving for the school bus in early 2012. It is a really nice, quiet spot. For more information about Hayley’s, check out their website here.
The beach on the Ayton sign is Weary Bay, looking South to those hills you can see in the photo above. The beach is only a kilometre or less from Ayton village, but you can’t see it or access it other than from Weary Bay Road. The river is just down the road as well. Bloomfield Lodge is located across the bay where that saddle is.
Blooms has recently opened. It was a cafe some years ago but had been closed up until a week or so ago. The new owners are serving some really nice food and stay open after the Ayton IGA/cafe is closed.
This is Bloom’s
‘AP’ as he is known, is the local woodworker. He has his own sawmill and does a lot of stuff around town. He made the old Bloomfield Hall and Fire Shed signs, and makes quality furniture out of your own timber if you want. This is his letterbox and water tank.
Half a km to the shop
A panorama of Ayton Township. To the right is the library, the ‘Tin Shed’ that is the meeting place and function shed, and the ‘Historical marker’ :). Ayton has been around for many years. It is rarely seen by anyone other than those passing through on their trip up or down ‘The Bloomfield Track’ on their way to or from Cooktown and Cape York Peninsula. When I lived here 30 odd years ago, access was really just a dirt track from the North through the gap. The Bloomfield track didn’t exist back then. It wasn’t cut until 1984/5.
So, I bought the dog food (3KG), Powdered milk (1KG), rice (1KG) and my litre of water, had a can of Mother and a Pork n Gravy roll, and headed back home with my goodies in my backpack. A local gave me a lift for about 2km, but I walked the rest. A nice day for it too.
If you want more information about the Bloomfield, Ayton & Wujal Wujal district and the area’s history, these are good places to start:
Douglas Shire Historical Society – Brief History Of Bloomfield/Wujal Wujal, Far North Queensland
Griffith University – German Missionaries in Australia; Bloomfield (Wujal Wujal)
Tourism Cape York – Rainforest Coast: Rossville, Wujal Wujal, Bloomfield, Ayton